The foolishness of intolerance
When the dawn of intelligence shall spread over the eastern horizon of human progress, and ignorance and superstition shall have left their last footprints on the sands of time, it will be recorded in the last chapter of the book of man’s crimes that his most grievous sin was that of intolerance.
The bitterest intolerance grows out of religious, racial and economic prejudices and differences of opinion. How long, O God, until we poor mortals will understand the folly of trying to destroy one another because we are of different religious beliefs and racial tendencies?
Our allotted time on this earth is but a fleeting moment. Like a candle, we are lighted, shine for a moment, and flicker out. Why can we not learn to so live during this brief earthly visit that when the great “caravan” called death draws up, we will be ready to fold our tents and silently follow out into the great unknown without fear and trembling?
I am hoping that I will find no Jews or Gentiles, Catholics or Protestants, Germans, Englishmen or Frenchmen when I shall have crossed the bar to the other side. I am hoping that I will find there only human souls, brothers and sisters all, unmarked by race, creed or colour, for I shall want to be done with intolerance so I may rest in peace throughout eternity.
Man engages his brothers in mortal combat because of competition. The three major forms of competition are sex, economic and religious in nature. Twenty years ago, a great educational institution was doing a thriving business and rendering a worthy service to thousands of students. The two owners of the school married two beautiful and talented young women, who were especially accomplished in the art of piano playing. The two wives became involved in an argument as to which one was the more accomplished in this art. The disagreement was taken up by each of the husbands. They became bitter enemies. Now the bones of that once prosperous school “lie bleaching in the sun.”
In one of the great industrial plants, two young foremen “locked horns” because one received a promotion which the other believed he should have had. For more than five years the silent undertow of hatred and intolerance showed itself. The men under each of the foremen became inoculated with the spirit of dislike which they saw cropping out in their superiors. Slowly, the spirit of retaliation began to spread over the entire plant. The men became divided into little cliques. Production began to fall off. Then came financial difficulty and, finally, bankruptcy for the company. Now the bones of the once prosperous business “lie bleaching in the sun,” and the two foremen and several thousand others were compelled to start all over again, in another field.
Down in the mountains of West Virginia lived two peaceful families of mountain-folk-the Hatfields and the McCoys. They had been friendly neighbours for three generations. A razorback pig belonging to the McCoy family crawled through the fence into the Hatfield family’s corn field. The Hatfields turned their hound loose on the pig. The McCoys retaliated by killing the dog. Then began a feud that has lasted for three generations and cost many lives of the Hatfields and McCoys.
In a fashionable suburb of Philadelphia, certain gentlemen of wealth have built their homes. In front of each house the word “INTOLERANCE” is written. One man builds a high steel fence in front of his house. The neighbor next to him, not to be outdone, builds a fence twice as high. Another buys a new motor car and the man next door goes him one better by purchasing two new cars. One remodels his house adding a colonial style porch. The man next door adds a new porch and a Spanish style garage for good measure. The big mansion on top of the hill gives a reception which brings a long line of motor cars filled with people who have nothing in particular in common with the host. Then follows a series of “receptions” all down the “gold-coast” line, each trying to outshine all the others.
The “Mister” (but they don’t call him that in fashionable neighbourhoods) goes to business in the back seat of a Rolls Royce that is managed by a chauffeur and a footman. Why does he go to business? To make money, of course! Why does he want more money when he already has millions of dollars? So he can keep on out-doing his wealthy neighbours.
Poverty has some advantages – it never drives those who are poverty-stricken to “lock horns” in the attempt to out-poverty their neighbours.Wherever you see men with their “horns locked” in conflict, you may trace the cause of the combat to one of the three causes of intolerance – religious difference of opinion, economic competition or sex competition.
The next time you observe two men engaged in any sort of hostility toward each other, just close your eyes and THINK for a moment and you may see them, in their transformed nature. Off at one side you may see the object of combat – a pile of gold, a religious emblem or a female (or females).
Remember, the purpose of this easy is to tell some of the TRUTH about human nature, with the object of causing its readers to THINK. Its writer seeks no glory or praise, and likely he will receive neither in connection with this particular subject.
Andrew Carnegie and Henry C. Frick did more than any other two men to establish the steel industry. Both made millions of dollars for themselves. Came the day when economic intolerance sprang up between them. To show his contempt for Frick, Carnegie built a tall sky-scraper and named it the “Carnegie Building.” Frick retaliated by erecting a much taller building, alongside of the Carnegie Building, naming it the “Frick Building.”
These two gentlemen “locked horns” in a fight to the finish. Carnegie lost his mind, and perhaps more, for all we of this world know. What Frick lost is known only to himself and the keeper of the Great Records. In memory, their “bones lie bleaching in the sun” of posterity.
Culled from THE LAW OF SUCCESS by NAPOLEON HILL